Warriors

Warriors

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In late May 2017, the Hawks hired Travis Schlenk to be their general manager. Schlenk had worked for the Warriors since the 2004-05 campaign, including his final five seasons as assistant GM.

Over the weekend, he was a guest on The Woj Pod, and was asked a specific question about his time with Golden State.

Adrian Wojnarowski: "When you think back to how that team got put together, are there one or two moments where you think, 'Wow, that could have so easily gone the other way, but for good fortune or sound decision-making, we did that?'"

"One instance really stands out in my mind," Schlenk began. "I remember when I first went from the coaching side to the front-office side -- Larry Riley was the GM at the time. He came to me and said, 'Hey, you know I could really use you on the front-office side.' Don Nelson was the head coach. Nellie came and talked to me, and he said, 'Listen, I think you have a great eye for talent. I think you should go work in the front office.'

"And at first, I was taken back. My dream since I was a little kid growing up in Western Kansas in a town of 200 people was to be a coach. And I thought I had a good eye for it with the X's and O's. But my wife and I, we'd just had our first kid and I remember thinking to myself, 'Well there's a lot more stability in the front-office side of things than on the coaching side of things. Maybe I should do this.' So we did it.

 

"I told Larry -- we were at the hoop summit up in Portland -- I said, 'I'll come do the front-office side with you, but you gotta promise, you know, we'll trade these two guys. We gotta trade these two guys because at the time we didn't have the world's best locker room and we had a young group of guys that we wanted to try to develop.

"And we both agreed that was gonna be our plan and our strategy. Now it took us two years to do it, but we got it done."

OK. Now to the juicy part.

"Back to the original question," Schlenk said. "One moment (that) really changed the course of everything -- there was a trade that we wanted to do. And we were sitting down with the owner at that time, Chris Cohan. And we said we think we should do this trade -- we're getting back two guys, it frees up our cap, it's gonna allow the growth of Steph. And Chris said, 'We can't do that trade. Player X is the most popular player we have, and season-ticket renewals (are) around the corner.'

"And I was just like, you gotta be kidding me. We are gonna make this decision based on who our fans think should be on our team, not the guys that you've hired to put together the team?"

At this point, Woj interjects and says, 'This was the Bucks, right?"

"No, this wasn't the Bucks," Schlenk answered. "I don't want to name the players. So, we didn't do the trade. And then later on we were able to do a trade with that player that brought us Andrew Bogut. And that was obviously a big piece of the championship puzzle.

"As they say, sometimes the best deals you do are the ones you don't do."

Innnnnnnnnnteresting.

So without explicitly revealing the player's name, we all can put on our detective hats and determine that Schlenk had to be referring to ...

... Monta Ellis.

[RELATEDTravis Schlenk shares story from moments before Warriors drafted Steph]

In March 2012, the Warriors traded Ellis, Kwame Brown and Ekpe Udoh to the Bucks for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. Let's just say that neither Brown nor Udoh were considered Golden State's "most popular player." 

In case you forgot, Monta last appeared in an NBA game in April 2017. He was waived three months later, and the Pacers decided to stretch his contract over the subsequent five seasons. So yes, he will make $2,245,400 each year through the 2021-22 campaign.

 

Finally, the obvious follow-up thought/question to Schlenk's comments is: Who was the other player he wanted to trade?

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller